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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old September 30th, 2003, 11:16 AM   #1
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How are you holding your camera?

Hi all. Having used mostly shouldercams, a handheld PC3 and sometimes the PC3 on a Glidecam, I find my PDX10 hard to hold. Holding it by putting my right hand through the thing on the right is not very stable no matter how tight I set the strap, it is necessary to use the other hand for stabilizing. Focusing and of course trying to use manual image controls while the tape is rolling is a nightmare. I never used the right hand grip on the PC3 but since the tinycam was so light and small I could hold it in other ways, like with the hand cupped up from the bottom or back. This kind of thing is not so easy with the PDX10 since it is so much heavier, even without the XLR and Microphone assembly. With the wireless receiver, the heavy duty battery and a wide angle adapter, it becomes very cumbersome (although the battery does help balance the camera a bit).

Putting it up against my face helps a bit but the viewfinder is not all that comfortable, I much prefer using the LCD.

So I would like to know how are you guys holding the cam. I mean when not using a tripod or some other heavy duty support. Has anybody tried some kind of shoulder mount? Any tricks like using a partly dissasembled small tripod or something like that?

I have a Glidecam of the handheld type and the whole thing is just too heavy to use for more than a minute or two. I wish I had invested in the one with the vest.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #2
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This cam is difficult to hold. It pulls forward and to the left, plus the ridge (what ridge?) isn't much of a ridge so my fingers slip easily. If I owned a PDX10 I would also place my left palm underneath, and bend both elbows 45 degrees while bracing them against the sides of my stomach.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 04:34 PM   #3
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Let's hope Sony improves the low light sensitivity and adds a handle to the new generations of the PDX10- then it could join the ranks of DVX stardom!
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Old October 1st, 2003, 01:12 AM   #4
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Yes, better!

> I would also place my left palm underneath, and bend both elbows
> 45 degrees while bracing them against the sides of my stomach.

I tried it, worked quite well! Not as uncomfortable as it sounds. Thanks!
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Old October 1st, 2003, 01:58 AM   #5
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This cam could do well with some sort of threaded pistol grip to attach to the bottom. Maybe. It's as though a conflict of interest went in to the design of the PDX10. Small form consumer handy cam for pros.....kind of a silly combination at this point, though, personally, I hope they continue to improve on the small full featured idea, and eventually, thouroughly stick a "dvx100" into this size.
I'd say a monopod expertly used is one of the better tools with which to operate this cam. For me, it's cam that captures rather exceptional video, and is wonderful for carefully constructed artwork, on a tripod, but not for ENG run and gun journalism weddings etc.....Unless there's a light weight shoulder harness attachment thingy, that might work. It is probably light enough for a really light tripod to keep attached and run around with in many/most situations. Dunno. It's a handycam not to be held. A mutant. And it's mine. Sigh....... :-)
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Old December 8th, 2003, 12:34 AM   #6
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My life changed today

I was walking though a flea market today in the street, downtown Valaparíso, the end of the world... and I saw this guy selling asorted used SLR equipment. In the middle of his mess there was this cool little JVC breast rest... it's just a two piece telescoping metal rod (about 1cm diameter) with a C-shaped rubber thing on one end and a tripod-like mount where the camera goes. The screw size and alignment hole are non-standard, but I replaced that with some hardware borrowed from my glidecam (which is no good really with this cam, not light enough). Now I can use my hand with more freedom as my upper breast or shoulder hold the weight and keep the camera stable. I can now focus, press buttons and adjust exposure and the camera stays pointing where I want with minimal effort. Very cool! Seems even better than a shoulder mount, although I have only used it briefly. I'll post a picture of it somehow soon (have to figure how to take a picture of myself with the camera so that you can see the thing... interesting problem). Now I just have to remember my singing/acting classes and breathe with my stomach so as to not move my chest or shoulders. Should be easy enough. Advice: always keep your eyes open for useful low-tech solutions... you never know when something like this will show up and change everything :-)
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Old December 8th, 2003, 03:15 AM   #7
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I mostly have been working on a tripod since purchasing my baby four months ago. I'm only just now experimenting with handheld. Without any gear attached, no XLR, no nothing, I have to say, I enjoy holding this camcorder! I can tell that I'm going to have to build upper body strength to hold it for any lengthy period of time, with the xlr box on top, but I am finding the right place for the hand, the right amount of tension in the strap, etc. No question, though. No matter what, it pretty much requires two hands to steady. The big honkin' battery in the rear helps with weight balance and hand/thumb placement.

Maybe I'll take that Tai Chi class in the spring after all. Good steady motion exercises? Hope the instructor doesn't mind if I have a PDX10 strapped to my hand for the three months :-) .
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Old December 8th, 2003, 08:52 AM   #8
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> No question, though. No matter what, it pretty much
> requires two hands to steady.

Precisely, so if you try to manually adjust exposure, shutter speed or even focusing you get camera shake. This is why it's so cool to have some kind of extra support, it liberates your left hand.
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Old December 8th, 2003, 09:45 AM   #9
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Well I have done about 95% of my shooting from a tripod. I also have a Glidecam 2000, which sounds like the one you describe. I was starting to get results with it last summer, but haven't touched it in months so I'll probably have to start all over again with it! I also found it was only good for shots lasting a few minutes at a time. It's a real workout, I can't imagine how people use them with heavier cameras!
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Old December 8th, 2003, 10:41 AM   #10
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> I can't imagine how people use them with heavier cameras!

They attach the vest, so as to take away the weight from the arms. Of course it's extra $. Not even sure if you can buy it separately anymore.
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Old December 8th, 2003, 01:21 PM   #11
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I'm using the PDX10 with the GlideCam V8 - a nice combo. The plain PDX10 needs all the weight plates on the head to balance it. With the Matte box, I can remove two of the weight plates, but have to add a little plastic spacer I made to allow the camera to sit centrally on the plate to balance it.

For handheld, I'm putting my hand through the strap as normal, but I use the other hand on the rods of the matte box to steady it. This works well, but on cold days, the rods are freezing to hold!

I took the camera out on Friday for a shoot - a music documentary recording session for some great classical singers from New York. They came up to Canada to record, and we recorded the recording.... The camera worked very well - had to turn off the beep and the tally light so as not to disturb the recording or the singers. The contrast levels in the hall were incredible - the sun streaming through the windows against the low ambient light inside the hall. I think I could have done with the higher value ultra contrast, but that's not arrived yet, and anyway, I don't think even film would not have blown out!

The glidecam worked great - got some interesting shots with it. Most of the video was shot on tripod for closeups on the singers, changing angle every take for coverage.

We used a chimera on a lowel omni for lighting, and this worked great. We shot 4 hours of footage, including a 45 minute timelapse of the morning sun rise over the river - I'll be checking the footage out over the week. All shot in 16x9 with the Century 0.65 wide angle.

Graeme
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